Skepticism and Consensus

Skepticism and Consensus January 5, 2016

Bertrand Russell on Skepticism

“Nevertheless the opinion of experts, when it is unanimous, must be accepted by non-experts as more likely to be right than the opposite opinion. The scepticism that I advocate amounts only to this: (1) that when the experts are agreed, the opposite opinion cannot be held to be certain; (2) that when they are not agreed, no opinion can be regarded as certain by a non-expert; and (3) that when they all hold that no sufficient grounds for a positive opinion exist, the ordinary man would do well to suspend his judgment.”

– Bertrand Russell, “On The Value of Scepticism”

Of related interest, see the article by Tom Nichols on the death of expertise.

 


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